SikTh - The Future In Whose Eyes? - (10/10)
Published on May 31, 2017
Stop living in the past
SikTh are a band I’ve never really been able to get into before. I’ve also never really bought into the idea that it was they, not Meshuggah, who were primarily responsible for kicking off the djent movement. Setting aside the significant differential in popular reach: the Swedes were a band who well and truly dragged the future kicking and screaming into the present, whereas their British counterparts seemed like a band looking toward that future, but without the means to actuate it; which probably had a lot to do with why the band disbanded back in 2008. Flash forward to 2017: the future has arrived and a reunited SikTh have well and truly come into their own.
The Future In Whose Eyes? Is a far more realized effort than anything SikTh have released in the past. The band’s trademark technical flare and jack-knifing compositional approach remains firmly in tact. However, everything in this record is just so much more cohesive this time around, and the updated production—handled by guitarist Dan weller and Periphery’s “Nolly” Getgood—finally grants the band the impact and clarity they’ve always deserved. Each of these songs are a journey in themselves, and the album as a whole guides the listener seamlessly through the many deranged cybercolor dreamscapes it evokes. Every single moment on this album is crammed with equally compelling and challenging ideas—both musically and conceptually—and the band simply don’t let up for its entire duration.
SikTh 2017: Stop torturing yourself man! …Live in the now!!
At the forefront of this musical journey are the vocals. Although everything about this record is a highlight, it’s the schizophrenic, two-pronged lyrical attack of mainstay Mikee Goodman and newcomer Joe Rosser (Aliases) that truly stands out. The Future In Whose Eyes? Is a much more melodic release than SikTh have put out in the past, and the trade-off between the two is absolutely sublime—with Goodman’s deranged delivery coming across like man barely able to keep it together, while Rosser’s serene tones frequently step in to pull everything back into place. Rosser’s refined approach also allows the band to dip into territories they’ve never been able to explore previously, before Spencer Sotello’s guest spot on “Cracks Of Light” finally pushes the record into overdrive. This isn’t at all to sell Goodman’s contributions shot, however. His performance here is so much more diverse than it has been in the past, with his performance on “The Aura” sounding positively Blind Guardian-esque. Likewse, his trademark, gruff and unhinged, spoken-word interludes carry more weight here than they ever have in the past, and lend a considerably dark edge to an album which otherwise thrives on brightness.
SikTh’s first, proper, post-reunion record essentially picks up where 2015’s Opacities “mini-album” left off, and that release can in a sense be considered as a lead-in to this more fully-realized offering. However, The Future In Whose Eyes? Is so much more than a mere refining of an established template. The heights and lengths to which the band push themselves on this release is absolutely staggering, and that they manage to keep up such a performance for the entire record’s duration only renders it more impressive, and essentially unfaultable. If SikTh hadn’t already set the bar for modern metal on their first go around, then they’ve sure as hell done it now.